Why is an Outline Important?

Ever wondered which ideas you will include in your paper? The process of selecting which ideas best suit your piece forms part of the outline. Writing an outline plays an integral role in determining the eventual appearance of the paper. 

Creating an outline helps in determining how your overall paper will appear. Furthermore, it helps in ensuring that there is a connection between ideas in your paper. You can use your outline to check for research gaps that exist when writing. It provides a strong foundation to ensure you have the proper facts. Some other benefits of an outline include:

  • It becomes less likely for a writer to run into writer’s block. The outline provides a roadmap of where you need to be going when writing.
  • It helps in maintaining a straightforward thought process in an organized manner throughout the paper. It tests the coherence between sentences and paragraphs to ensure that there is a natural flow.
  • A written outline provides a last-minute dash to re-look over your writing if you find yourself drifting into other subjects. 
  • The outline helps in keeping a writer motivated. It leaves you anticipating the following sections in your paper.
  • It helps in organizing different ideas in a paper. You can bring together diverse perspectives about a topic together through the outline.

Overall Approaches for an Outline

There are various ways you can use in structuring your essay. Here is a breakdown of the two most common approaches used in writing an outline.

Topic Outline

It is mainly made up of short statements. The approach is more practical when handling a variety of issues and ideas that need to be organized in your paper. Short statements carry more weight in comparison to simple sentences. Therefore, it ends up building a solid structure for your paper.

Sentence Outline

The type of outline is written using full sentences. It is highly recommended when dealing with a paper that contains complex ideas. The sentences have numerous ideas that help in building your paper’s structure.

Common Mistakes by Students

Here is an analysis of common mistakes encountered by students when writing their outlines for college papers.

Going Off-Topic

The essence of an outline is to collect your ideas together in the paper. Without planning correctly for your college paper, it becomes easy to find a student straying away from the topic at hand.

Not Quoting Sources

You might need to incorporate information from other researches in your work to make it more factual. It calls for citing each source used in your college paper. Failure to which amounts to plagiarism that reduces your overall grades.

Not Proofreading

Before submitting your final work, it is essential to ensure you have gone through the paper. Get rid of grammatical and spelling mistakes. Furthermore, ensure the paragraphs are connecting naturally with the rest of the body.

You should pay the utmost attention during the initial formulation process. Ensure you give every single detail the needed attention to improve your paper. Please go through your college paper's overall structure to ensure it conforms to your professor’s instructions.

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